Monday, January 25, 2010

Shaft Lean vs. Downswing Lag

About a month ago I did a blog post on 'Fake Lag vs. Real Lag' that can be found HERE.

After working with John Dochety I feel like I've got an even more clear, accurate and overall better reply to that.

But first, let's take a look at Scheinblum's videos on 'fake lag' vs. 'real lag.'

In no way am I attempting to criticize Scheinblum's thoughts or philosophies, in fact I would be honored if he would join our message board. But this post is trying to hopefully give a more accurate and easier to understand 'theory' on the subject.

I don't think Scheinblum is 'wrong' with his philosophy per say, but my main issue was the thought that some golfer who hits the ball quite well and has a lot of lag would all of the sudden start changing their golf swing when I really don't think Scheinblum was targeting that type of golfer.

Funny enough, Mike Maves' (aka Sevam1) book 'The Secret Is In The Dirt' talked about 'fake lag' as well and how that was hazardous as well. Later on I had spoke to Mike over the phone and I had commented how much lag he has in his downswing and he said something very peculiar to me, to paraphrase 'I don't want those angles. I want to get rid of those angles as soon as possible' in his charming Canadian accent. Here's the 'angles' Maves was talking about.

I have to say, I was quite jealous of Mike when he said that. Here I am trying to obtain those 'angles' that he has and Mike is eschewing those angles and telling me how he tries to get rid of them as soon as he can in the swing.

When John and I discussed the swing, he started off at 'impact fix' and basically described how we need to hit the ball in accordance to the way the OEM designed the golf club. And that meant minimal (but still *some*) shaft lean. If you get a ton of shaft lean at impact, essentially you are hitting the ball in a way that the OEM did NOT design the club.

What else do we know about forward shaft lean at impact?

Well, here's a few things I can think of off the top of my head.

1. Lean the shaft forward, the clubface starts pointing to the right.

2. Shaft lean usually coincides with a steeper Angle of Attack (AoA), which effectively moves the path to the right (which helps put a draw spin on the ball).

But, there are 2 other things about shaft lean.

A. The club gets 'shorter' with shaft lean.

What I mean by that is that if you were to measure from the butt of the club to the ground, straight vertically, that distance gets shorter with more shaft lean.

Hopefully these pics...the first with a lot of shaft lean ('shorter' shaft) and the second with much less shaft lean ('taller' shaft).

Like I said, I think this effects the accuracy of the club because it changes the face angle and path. I also think it effects the power (shaft lean de-lofts the club) and consistency (tougher to control the low point).

When you think of 'lag' you probably think of Sergio Garcia and Ben Hogan. Well, let's take a look at their shaft lean at impact.

So, that's why I could now understand what Maves meant by 'getting rid of those angles as soon as possible.' In order to get a 'tall club' at impact, he needs to get rid of those angles he had created.

The problem I think golfers have, including that they try too much forward shaft lean at impact.

But there's another problem with too much forward shaft lean at impact:

B. You will 'run out of right arm.'

'Running out of right arm' is something that Homer Kelley talked about in 'The Golfing Machine.' Basically, regardless if you're a 'hitter' or a 'swinger', you want the right arm bent at impact.

Take a look at a few of the greats and their right arm at impact:

Go and take a golf club. Go to impact fix. You want your shoulders and hips a little open and have a little amount of shaft lean, but the club 'standing tall' like it was designed to. Your right elbow should almost naturally be bent at this impact fix.

Now, lean the clubshaft wayyyyyy forward. As you lean the shaft forward, you no longer have a bent right elbow or as known in TGM terms you 'run out of right arm.'

So as far as 'fake lag' I think it's more of a case of golfers trying to create too much forward shaft lean.

And I think what happens is often times when you try to create too much forward shaft lean and you 'run out of right arm', that running out of right arm causes golfer's to flip.

Yes, trying to create too much shaft lean I believe helps *cause* throwaway.



Anonymous said...


I have a question that is a off topic but I am interested in your response.
I recently took a stack and tilt one day seminar from Andy and Mike. What great guys. I got a course of action and have been making slow progress. (I am still struggling to make an inside-out path to get a draw).
Yesterday I was at a popular public driving range where teaching pro's go up and down the rows of folders offering advice and seeking customers. Am
An older gentlan was getting a lesson in the stall next to me and he was telling his student the opposite of everything I think I know to be true. He had this guy loosen his grip pressure and relax his arms (ok so far).
He then told him to swing and to try and throw the clubhead at the ball from the top (which feels like the toe reaches the ball before the heel). The only other advice that I heard was to keep his hands close to his body on the downswing and to be careful not to open up his shoulders too soon. He seemed to start hitting good shots as his lesson progressed.
That afternoon as I was struggling on the course with my stack and tilt, I decided to try that pro's advice and hit a very good shot. I then hit a whole bunch of pretty good shots in row. The swing felt so effortless and good that I am afraid it is just a mirage and tomorrow it will dissapear.
What do you think about why it is working so well?

Rich H. said...

I don't necessarily think the pro's advice is bad. But it should be customized towards a particular student's needs. Remember, feels are subjective so a feel that may work for me may not work for you...and vice versa.

I don't think the feel of 'throwing the clubhead at the ball on the downswing' is necessarily bad. In fact, it's something I'm trying to feel right now so I don't attempt to get all that forward shaft lean at impact.

You can still have a FLW at impact with the feel of 'throwing the clubhead at the ball' if you pivot well enough.

But, that may not be your problem. And using the advice the pro gave somebody else and it working for you may be a coincidence and a week from now you could be hitting it worse than before.

I would suggest for S&T issues to check out Dana Dahlquist's forum and ask some questions.

Also, get a camcorder ready. Nobody can really tell what you are doing unless they can actually see the swing first. I suggest a camcorder with a shutter speed of *at least* 1/2,000th. Mine goes as high as 1/10,000th.

Anonymous said...

ha, I am going to test my thought, your post get me some good ideas, it's really amazing, thanks.

- Thomas